Nakba Day protest did more than stop traffic

“Nakba Day” protest did more than stop traffic

May 25, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The recent “Nakba Day” protests in Sydney attracted some controversy due to a ruling by NSW Supreme Court Justice Christine Adamson allowing the protesters to block peak-hour traffic in the centre of Sydney’s CBD. Adamson drew particular criticism for likening “Nakba Day” – a Palestinian commemoration of the establishment of Israel (“nabka” meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic) – to Australia Day, Christmas Day and ANZAC Day.

That said, something far more sinister took place at the protest. A video (below), posted anonymously on Youtube, depicts various scenes from the protest set to dramatic music.

Israeli leaders condemn violent riot

Israeli leaders condemn violent riot

May 25, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

What started as a protest of some 1,000 people in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighbourhood on May 23 calling for the deportation of unauthorised African migrants to Israel, turned violent as demonstrators attacked African passersby while others lit garbage cans on fire and smashed car windows. Israeli police arrested 17 people during the protest.

The violence and incitement to violence by some speakers has been condemned by Israel’s highest leaders, and many Israelis have taken to the streets to protest against the racist riot.

The Baghdad Negotiations with Iran

The Baghdad Negotiations with Iran

May 25, 2012

As readers may be aware, the long-anticipated P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran in Baghdad ended overnight without a breakthrough. Indeed, little seems to have been achieved except for an agreement to meet again in Moscow on June 17.

As discussed in this Update’s first piece from the New York Times, an offer was apparently made to the Iranians by the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) and rejected. The P5+1 offers seems to have focussed mainly on getting Iran to, at a minimum, stop uranium enrichment to 20% (which is, technically, only a short distance from bomb grade) and agree to remove its stock of 20% enriched uranium from the country to be processed into reactor fuel, in exchange for a limited lifting of some sanctions and other cooperation.

Is Turkey flipping Democracy the bird?

Is Turkey flipping Democracy the bird?

May 23, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

While many in the international media have recently “coronated” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as “King” of Israel following his formation of a national unity government, surely the use of the term, with its non-democratic connotations, would be more apropos when referring to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

Erdogan truly has been consolidating his power in non-democratic ways, silencing his critics, and taking steps that are moving his country further and further away from democracy.

Palestinian factions announce broken record

Palestinian factions announce broken record

May 22, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

New New York Times Middle East Correspondent Judy Rudoren wrote yesterday that:

The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement late Sunday in Cairo that paves the way for elections and a new unity government for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, officials said.

If that sounds a little fimiliar, that’s because it is…

US clamping-down on terror supporters and war criminals

US clamping-down on terror supporters and war criminals

May 18, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

After frequent calls on this blog for some action against Sudanese President Omar Bashir, it is welcome news that the US Congress is committing to halt aid to any country that hosts the indicted war criminal.

A US House of Representatives press release reports that the House Appropriations Committee has adopted an amendment to the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for 2013 to this effect, proposed by Representative Frank Wolf…

More on Israel's growing ties with China

More on Israel’s growing ties with China

May 18, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

In a quick followup to Sharyn Mittelman’s recent blog on the growing numbers of international students who are coming to study in Israel and learn how Israelis innovate, the China Daily is the latest newspaper to run a story about this phenomenon, highlighting that China’s growing ties with Israel are becoming more public within China and that more Chinese are starting to sit up and take notice of the benefits of the relationship.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird’s speech on Israel

May 18, 2012

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird addresses American Jewish Committee’s Global Forum in Washington.

Hamas’ internal politics / PA misgovernment allegations

May 18, 2012

This Update is focussed on Palestinian politics – and especially the significance of the recent, secretive elections within Hamas which chose that organisation’s leadership bodies.

First up is Ehud Yaari, leading Israeli journalist renowned for his sources in both Palestinian and other Arab governments, offering unique insights into both how the Hamas elections were carried out, the results, and what they likely mean. The key trends Yaari notes are an increasing predominance of the military wing over politics – as has occurred in Iran – and a growing dominance of the internal leadership in Gaza over Hamas leaders in exile, including especially the increasingly side-lined theoretical top leader Khaled Mashal.

Shhh

Shhh, Australia is resettling Palestinians

May 17, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

Even as some Australian Palestinians and their supporters spent Tuesday evening disrupting commuters in Sydney in the course of their Nakba Day protests against Israel, SBS World News ran a segment on the recent resettlement of several dozen Iraqi Palestinian refugees in Australia.

(While the video will only be accessible on the SBS website for the next week, a transcript of the segment has been created for the purposes of this blog and can be referenced here.)

While the segment was framed by the SBS presenters as an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue of Palestinian refugees on the anniversary of Israel’s creation, in reality the story had very little to do with Israel.

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